Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Alberta Greens Nominate More Candidates Than Wildrose Alliance But Are Cut Out of the TV Debate! What a Dumb Move!

Congratulations to George Read and the Alberta Greens for nominating 79 candidates this election. That exceeds significantly the Wildrose Alliance Party 61 candidate nominations. The WAP would have had access to a larger and better oiled political machine, plus, I presume, assiatance from federal Conservatives who are sympathetic to them. Good for the Alberta Greens. Talk about grassroots.


I am on the verge of predicting that the Alberta Greens will be the most successful party this election based on increased popular vote. I see a number of trends happening that benefit the Greens. I will wait for a week or so before I actually stick my neck out on this prediction - but I see a trend forming.

The world is run by those who show up and as a result nobody ever wasted a vote. Only no shows on Election Day are a waste. So the disenchanted and disgruntled Albertan who are not happy with any main line party can have a choice. If they want to show up they can either spoil their ballot – but that does no good because they don’t realy get counted. Or they can park their ballot with the Greens.

Disenchanted supporters of the Tories, Liberals and NDP, who don’t think staying home on Election Day is very effective at sending a message have a choice. Those who are not so ticked off with their party as to abandon ship and switch to another party may decide to park their votes with the Greens as a means to show their own party they are not happy.

Previously disengaged non-partisan citizens, and those who are engaged but undecided, and a big chunk of them are women and youth, can comfortable park ballot or even chose the Greens as a preference.

I think the Green popular vote is about to blossom this election and could be 10 -12% of total votes cast if voters get ticked enough to get actively engaged and not just sit back and be quietly enraged. Will the Alberta Greens elect anyone? Not likely because their resources and support is too thinly spread out to make an concentrated impact at the polls.

I do think there are a few Green candidates to watch on election night. One is Joe Anglin in Lacombe Ponoka who rose to prominence in the EUB spy scandal incidents and was very effective for Alberta farmers in thier plight. The other Green with a chance, I am told, is Edwin Erickson in Drayton Valley Calmar who came in second last time. He has a much more formidable PC candidate this time in Dianne McQueen, the popular Mayor of Drayton Valley. Dianne defeated the incumbent PC candidate in a nomination fight and is a formidible campaigner.


The Alberta Greens have been cut out of the TV Debate this Thursday by the MSM television people. That decision is presumably based on the fact they don’t have any seats. That is a bad and wrong-headed decision. Pam Barrett as NDP leader got to debate in the 1997 when they were shut out of seats. There is precedent.

There is a danger here for the television people due to this desision. Content control of the election campains is no longer absolute perview of televisoin networks and print media. Albertans now have the internet as an alternative interactive information source - and boy are they are using it. The power and reach of the internet strikes at the very heart of traditional institutionalized one-way message control of the MSM.


George Read, the Alberta Green leader, is going to use the internet to respond to all the televised debate questions on YouTube and get the Alberta Green message out that way. Read’s on-line debate answers will be there on-line for the rest of the campaign and beyond. His content will be available long after the MSM televised debate content is gone and forgotten. Anyone who wants to see and hear his comments can do so when, where and how ever they wish, and as often as they wish. His audience will also be able to link, post and redistribute the Read YouTube videos to further expand his reach.

Cutting the Alberta Greens out of the television debate may be one of the biggest blunders the Alberta television networks ever did. Because this decision to cut the Greens is unfair and unjustified, it will drive more and more citizen away from conventional media and on to the Web for political content.

Election Campaigns are changing and so is the media coverage changing because of new media and Web 2.0 techniques. There are now real alternatives to get content and real conversations going about politics and public policy. Too bad our traditional television stations are out of touch with the new realities.